Friday, October 10, 2008

Bicyclist shame

Last night I was riding home from work.

A couple teenage punk kids came up behind me on the 4-lane road, in a beat-up old Honda sedan.

Rather than cautiously passing in the other lane, as any sensible motorist would do, they got right behind me and laid on the horn. (Yeah... funny!)

Unfortunately, instead of reacting by slowing down, smiling and waving (which is an awesome way to react), I flipped the bird at 'em.

Immediately I regretted it. It didn't make me feel any better... and of course, they flipped the bird back at me.

I'm blaming it on the economy. If the stock market had only dropped 400 points, instead of 600, I probably wouldn't have been in such a foul mood. (I flip the bird at somebody about once a year. And don't think I've ever felt any better afterwards.)


dvicci said...

I did the same thing a couple of weeks back. Didn't feel any better about it than you do. It was the third car to honk at me when there was plenty of room to spare in as many blocks, and I'd had it.

So much for being the Bigger Man, I guess...

Anonymous said...

Somehow, I've never been tempted to give a driver that salute, but when honked at, I will honk back. Since I have a set of dual air horns that put out around 85db, this is actually quite effective, and does make me feel better. "You have a horn, eh? Cool! Check out mine!" It's all very festive. Val

Anonymous said...

I'm certain the only thing that, in this same scenario, could make me feel better than raising my middle finger in salute, would be Val's loud horns. ME WANT.

In lieu of such a device, I bring sign language into my commute whenever necessary, and it makes me feel wonderful. Hell, I'm shootin' the bird out the window at passing cars even now, just to pass the time.

Bikeboy said...


"Can't we all just get along?"
- Rodney King, 20th-century philosopher

(nudge-nudge, wink-wink)

(I'm guessing you've been desensitized. You - and the folks you exchange the "universal gesture of disapproval" with - do it so often that it has become meaningless.)

Anonymous said...

About a month ago I was taking the right lane on Emerald between Orchard and Latah. It was about 7:30am on a Sunday so the street was deserted.

In my mirror I could see a car coming from a long way back, and I knew they could see me thanks to my lights, reflective gear, and slow vehicle emblem. Instead of changing lanes and passing they stayed behind me and laid on the horn. I simply pointed to the empty left lane and as they passed the passenger made a comment which I could not understand. Probably something to the effect of "get off the road". The occupants of the vehicle appeared to be young men in their late teens or early 20's.

What makes moving to the left lane to pass so difficult for many Idahoans? I was in Bend, Oregon last week and one thing I noticed is that the motorists there don't seem to have as much of a problem with it as they have here. Maybe I was just imagining things.

From what I have heard the best thing to do when these types of incidents occur is to try not to react at all. Even a friendly gesture could possibly be misinterpreted and the cyclist is at a disadvantage should the situation excalate. Those who behave in this way do not deserve any form of acknowledgment.

Tom said...

Yeah... i know the feeling. Flipping the bird, yelling back, following drivers to a stop light to argue.... I find that these things don't really calm me down or make me feel better.

What helps me most seems wierd. I hope for their best. It helps me relax.

Anonymous said...

Danielo: Check out the Air Zound horn - it's not dual, but it's loud, inexpensive, and easy to mount. Guaranteed to improve your assertiveness by at least an order of magnitude. Val